Everton welcome Crystal Palace to Goodison Park in the opening match of the first-ever round of Premier League fixtures to be staggered across a fortnight.
A home win will see Everton climb to seventh whilst Palace can leapfrog the Toffees and go ninth if they win by a two goal margin or more.
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Fabian Delph is suspended for Everton after being sent off at Watford last weekend, following two separate yellow card incidents.
Andre Gomes (ankle) and Jean-Phillipe Gbamin (thigh) meanwhile are still ruled out until after the winter break.
Crystal Palace have no fresh injury concerns as Cenk Tosun is ineligble to face his parent club, although a hamstring injury rules him out anyway until after the winter break.
Jeffrey Schlupp (groin) and Mamadou Sakho (hamstring) are also sidelined.
Everton enter this match with one defeat in their last ten (W5, D4, L1), although they have conceded in five of their seven league games so far under Carlo Ancelotti.
Palace have lost each of their last two games without scoring, having previously taken seven points from their previous five beforehand.
- Everton haven’t lost in any of their last ten meetings against Crystal Palace (W4, D6).
- Both teams have scored in seven of their last ten league clashes at Goodison Park, with Everton winning two of those such games to Palace’s three whilst two were score draws.
- Seven of the last eight league goals in this fixture at Goodison Park have come after half-time, with Romelu Lukaku’s 35th minute opener in a 1-1 draw in September 2016 currently being the last first-half goals between these teams here.
- Crystal Palace are yet to see a player be sent off against Everton after 21 previous Premier League (PL) meetings.
- Both teams have scored two penalties from 21 PL meetings, although Palace had missed one of three attempts.
Everton were defensively all over the place at Watford last weekend and particularly when it came to marking, yet they dug in and took their chances which won them three valuable points.
They however will have to raise their game because Palace are a solid team despite not scoring many and have the fourth joint-best defensive record, so will sit back and try to play on the counter given their defensive quality.
I therefore am expecting a difficult game between two solid mid-table teams but if Everton can improve on last weekend’s performance, it will be difficult not to bet on them for the win.
Prediction: Everton 2-1 Crystal Palace
Result: Everton 3-1 Crystal Palace